Living with a person from another culture is a very eye opening experience. It is interesting to watch my husband eat. For he eats very differently then me. Furthermore the way he eats would have been considered very inappropriate at the diner table I grew up in. He makes all these noises when I was taught to eat quietly. He even uses different utensils and pockets the food in his cheek like a chipmunk. I would have been reprimanded for doing that at my diner table. But in his culture this is the norm. This is considered the polite way of eating. Furthermore it is considered to be a honor to the cook that you are throughly enjoying the food. So which of us is right? Or maybe there is no 1 correct way of eating? But if there is no 1 correct way then is there ever a right way and a wrong way? Who is the judge?
Well I am not the judge. My belief is that there is only 1 true judge. His name is God. He himself is the truth and the way. When I read the gospel of John where it talks about Jesus’s flesh being the bread of life and his blood being the drink of life I get very disturbing images in my head of humans feasting on Jesus like animals. In the church there is a ceremony called communion in which Christians take a piece of bread and wine or juice to eat/drink to symbolize Jesus body and blood. This has brought questions in me. Is this really how we “feed” on Jesus’s body and blood?
If Jesus body and blood are what give us true life. If us feeding on his body and blood is what it means to abide in him how do we feed? I personally think that there is no one correct way of feasting. How you eat is not as important as what you are eating. To me the only absolutely necessary element in our being able to feast on the body and blood of Jesus is another human being indwelled with the Holy Spirit acting as the body of Christ that is able to provide that bread and drink. For me my husband is that bread and drink. He is my daily communion. In response I am his daily communion. I am his bread and drink. For we are both indwelled with God’s spirit.
So what is the role of the church as we think of it today? Well there are many many many people out there with no person to be there bread and drink. The church should be a body of believers that are acting to take the bread and drink out to those who do not otherwise have access. For those are coming to the church it is supposed to be a place where people are nurtured, loved, trained and helped through their own journey with God so that they can effectively accomplish whatever ministry God has given them. It is in this ministry they in turn should be acting as a vessel to deliver the body and blood of Jesus to others. What this looks like is very individualized to each person and the ministry God has built for them.
My conclusion is that the only absolutely necessary element to feast on the bread and blood of Jesus is another Jesus follower. How you eat is not as important as eating the right thing. Just as my husband is not wrong is eating very loudly, I am not wrong in eating really quietly. How we eat is a reflection of our culture and the way we were raised. What you are eating is what is most important.
“Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.” John 6:26-59